Canucks mailbag: Tyler Toffoli, Thatcher Demko, third jersey


In our latest Vancouver Canucks mailbag, we’re answering your questions on Tyler Toffoli, Thatcher Demko and the third jersey.

The Vancouver Canucks don’t know yet if their season is done, or if they’ll get the chance to compete for a playoff spot as well as the Stanley Cup.

Global concerns over coronavirus have forced countless sports leagues to suspend play indefinitely. It is unclear if the NHL will continue the 2019-20 campaign, and when they would theoretically resume play.

We continue to await the latest updates on the suspension and possible cancellation of the 2019-20 NHL season. The regular season was initially slated to end on Apr. 4.

In the meantime, The Canuck Way decided to answer your latest questions in another mailbag segment. In this edition, we’ll answer your questions regarding Tyler Toffoli, a possible offseason trade involving a goalie and the team’s third jersey. So let’s dive into it.

Seeing how much the Canucks have struggled without Jacob Markstrom, I think general manager Jim Benning has no choice but to extend the pending UFA. Let’s assume Vancouver locks up their No. 1 goalie here. This would make Thatcher Demko or Michael DiPietro expendable.

I don’t think Benning necessarily has to trade either goalie this offseason. In an ideal world (again assuming Markstrom re-signs), Demko would perform well as a backup next year, thus increasing his value on the trade market. The Canucks could then deal Demko elsewhere before Seattle takes him in the Expansion Draft.

DiPietro has only played two NHL games, so there won’t be much value on the trade market until he sees more action. He could very well be the goalie of the future, so if I’m Benning, I’m hanging up the phone on any trade calls for DiPietro.

That’s just how I see it playing out: Canucks extend Markstrom, trade Demko next year and plan for DiPietro to eventually take over the reigns. But that’s merely an educated guess on my end.

If I had the call on that one, I would absolutely make the Flying Skate Vancouver’s third jersey. And who knows? It could happen in the future. Teams are always switching up their alternate uniforms these days.

I’d be all for a return of the Flying V jersey in an actual game, and it was such a delight to see the Canucks wear them during warmups on Dec. 7 against the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, history tells us that the organization isn’t all that interested in bringing the Flying V back for a game. Otherwise, they would have done so by now.

Take a look at this list that theThe Hockey News put together back in December. There aren’t many quality scoring wingers in the 2020 free agent class (Chris Kreider and Jean-Gabriel Pageau have signed new deals and are off the market now).

That bodes well for the likes of Toffoli, Taylor Hall and Mike Hoffman, because a plethora of GMs will be vying for their services.

Let’s compare Toffoli to some of last year’s non-superstar forwards who landed long-term deals in free agency. Mats Zuccarello got five years and $30 million from the Minnesota Wild (and he’s five years older than Toffoli). Gustav Nyquist received four years and $22 million from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan Dzingel settled on a two-year pact worth $6.75 million with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Toffoli will be 28 years of age this offseason. 2020 will probably be his last chance at receiving a long-term deal. I have to assume he’s looking for a term of at least five years, and Toffoli will likely cost around $5 to $6 million annually. Zuccarello’s deal seems like a fair comparable here.

Whether or not the Canucks and Toffoli can reach an agreement is another story. My guess is no, due to their cap constraints and the fact that they have enough scoring wingers in Brock Boeser, Tanner Pearson, Jake Virtanen and J.T. Miller.

Benning has to extend Markstrom and at lease one of Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher. Vancouver must keep cap space open for the looming monster extensions of Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes, too. As much as the Canucks would love to keep Toffoli, I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

Next. Canucks: Tough guy Zack MacEwen was just starting. dark

Thank you to all who submitted their questions this week, and we’ll be sure to run another Canucks mailbag segment soon.